Gimlets certify for Live Fire
February 18, 2014
BAN DAN LAN HOI, Thailand -- The Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division have been conducting platoon live fire certifications as part of Exercise Cobra Gold during the month of Feb. here in Thailand.
With an upcoming rotation to the National Training Center this summer, ensuring the Soldiers are prepared to work in large platoon live fire missions is essential as the entire 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team will be conducting operations.
"Alpha Co., 3rd platoon was the first platoon to be platoon live fire certified in a year," said Capt. James Devlin, Commander, A Co., 1-21 Inf., 2nd SBCT. "It was a pretty daunting feat for some, but it is quite the accomplishment for Alpha Company to lead the way and set the standard for the battalion."
"Our goal was to demonstrate lethal and capable platoons," said Maj. Ryan Finley, Executive Officer, 1-21 Inf., 2nd SBCT. "Their performance is a reflection of the character and quality of leaders and Soldiers that we have."
The training was long and difficult. The new environment presented additional challenges for the Soldiers, as Thailand's climate is very different from what they have trained in before.
"On a platoon live fire day, the Soldiers would start around 0800 and have about an hour and a half on the range doing a blank fire run," said Devlin. "They would continue to do rehearsals and refinements until the first live fire iteration at 1500 for day certification. The night blank fire would kick off at about 2000 and turn directly into night live fire and end about 2300 or midnight."
"The most exciting part of the training so far was the platoon night fire," said Pvt. Jesse Merrill, an Infantryman with 1-21 Inf., 2nd SBCT. "It was a little scary at times because visibility is limited, but I'm really confident now because we've been rehearsing and practicing, and practice makes perfect."
"Heat could have been a big issue training in Thailand, but the NCOs did a great job of managing their work and rest times, and also monitored the Soldiers to make sure they were drinking their electrolytes, eating all of their meals and drinking lots of water," said Devlin.
Leadership from across the division was impressed with the performance the Soldiers gave on the battlefield.
"We came here looking to do our job and train to standard," said 1st Lt. Steven Poland, a platoon leader with 1-21 Inf., 2nd SBCT. "I think we accomplished that and I'm very proud of the work the Soldiers put in during such a short amount of time."
"I think the guys who came out here knew what the training objectives were, they knew what level they were currently at and where they wanted to go," said Devlin. "They took the feedback from the AARs and were able to show why Soldiers of Alpha Company are probably the best in the battalion."
"I'm really impressed with your discipline," said Brig. Gen. Todd McCaffery, deputy commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division. "I'm impressed with the non-commissioned officer leadership that's out here. I want to thank you all for the leadership and what you've been doing to represent the United States well, certainly representing this battalion and this great brigade and this division very, very well. My hat is off to you, keep it up."